Guest editorial: Vandals of Vail Resorts billboard had right idea, wrong method of sharing it
According to recent reporting, vandals desecrated a Vail Resorts billboard in Park City during the closing weekend of Park City Mountain Resort. Based on the graffiti, it’s presumed the vandals used spray paint to demonstrate their frustration with the closing date of the resort.
As a Park City resident, I am ashamed. We live in beautiful, world-renowned mountain community that many visitors would love to call home. I, for one, find great pleasure riding chair lifts with visitors who express sincere jealousy when they find out I live full-time in Park City. We should bask in our great fortune to call Park City home, not vandalize property and leave pockmarks on our community.
While I disagree with the delivery method, I agree with the intended message. The vandals, like many other Parkites, are frustrated with this year’s closing date. As I made my final turns of the season during closing weekend, I felt that pit in my stomach that comes at the end of every season. I didn’t want it to end, and in light of this year’s bountiful powder and resulting above-average snowpack, I didn’t understand why it had to. The resort could easily remain open an additional two weeks at least.
Vail Ski Resort and neighboring Beaver Creek, the pride and joy of the Vail Resorts portfolio, remain open. Beaver Creek closes on April 14 and Vail Ski Resort a week later. Neither of which have enjoyed more snow than PCMR. As of April 12th, Beaver Creek had a 79-inch base with 320 inches for the season. Vail Ski Resort reported an 83-inch base depth and 331 inches on the season. The last reported totals at PCMR on closing day included 111-inch base depth and 359 inches for the season.
So if it’s not about snow quality or snowpack, it begs the question then of why us? Why were we the target of an early closure? Presumably it’s about economics and Vail Resorts has made the determination that to keep PCMR open later is a money loser.
That’s understandable. Vail Resorts is a publicly traded company with a fiduciary responsibility to its shareholders. However, they are also part of the Park City community and have a responsibility to the Park City community.
Yes, visitors are drawn for the incredible ski terrain and a taste of the greatest snow on earth. But they are equally drawn because Park City is a mountain destination. The restaurants, shopping and off-mountain winter activities are just as much a draw for visitors as the skiing. Those restaurant workers, shopkeepers and winter adventure guides may not be on the dole of Vail Resorts, but let there be no mistaking the fact that they help bring visitors to their mountain. They are also committed season pass holders.
What a great way to show your commitment to the community and appreciation for local season pass holders to keep the resort open an additional week or two for locals to enjoy some additional time on the mountain free of long lift lines and crowded runs. Yes, Vail Resorts might lose money. But what a great way to ingratiate yourself with locals, many of whom are growing disenchanted by Vail’s corporate presence.
Which brings me back to the vandals who are part of this growing chorus of frustrated locals. Vandalism is not how you win friends and influence people. Maybe if we as a community take a different, constructive approach to the issue, Vail Resorts might be persuaded to think differently as they consider the closing date next season.